Ryerson shines a light on alumni

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By Karina Roman

Ryerson is doling out its first-ever alumni awards next week. 

The awards are meant to honour graduates, raise the university’s profile in the community, and maybe attract a back or two from donors in the process.

“When you have great alumni it does make it easier to open corporate doors” to sponsorships, said David butler, manager of alumni relations in Ryerson’s office of university advancement.

Ryerson is raiding its profile by honouring its best, Butler.  “A fact for every university is that it needs to promote itself to a wider community.”

The awards, 13 for alumni of distinction and two for outstanding recent grads will be given out next Wednesday, Nov. 25.  Winners were chosen based on their career success and contributions to their community and the country.

Among those being lauded are:

Broadcaster Valeri Pringle, co-host of CTV’s Canada AM and W5 and graduate of the radio and television arts (RTA) in 1974;

Fashion designer Lida Baday, a 1979 fashion grad

Public health activist Cathy Crowe, who helped fund the Toronto Coalition Against Homelessness and graduated from nursing in 1985;

And Laidlaw president and CEO James Bullock, who got his business administration degree in 1965.

The awards provide Ryerson with a financial opportunity, said Perry Keller, co-winner of the outstanding recent graduate award with Keith Kocho, his partner in multimedia company Digital Renaissance.

“The awards provide a nice opportunity to generate publicity and promotion for the school to encourage support form the community and government,” said Keller, a 1990 RTA grad.

The awards ceremony will begin with the unveiling of a wall of fame plaque in the Jorgenson Hall foyer, followed by a presentation in the L72 lecture theatre, where winners will receive plaques.  All staff, faculty and students are invited fill the 340 seats at the ceremony.

Butler said Ryerson has wanted to give out alumni awards for years, but the school’s 50th anniversary provided a timely opportunity for publicity and funding.

The selection process began last fall, when a notice went out to the Ryerson community.  Last summer, a selection committee representing faculty, alumni and students chose winners from the 50 nominations.

Gregg Lee, president of the Business Students’ Association (BSA), was the only student representative on the committee.  Lee said students need to be aware of alumni’s success.  “By learning of the achievements of our grads, other students can see where Ryerson can take them.”

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